SAN DIEGO (AP) – Marines and sailors will be subject to random blood-alcohol tests twice a year in what is billed as the toughest anti-drinking policy in the U.S. military.
Starting Jan. 1, any Marine or sailor with a blood-alcohol level of 0.01 percent or higher may be referred for counseling. Anyone who tests at 0.04 percent or higher will be referred to medical personnel to determine fitness for duty.
In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, a driver with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol is considered drunk. A single drink can lead to a level of 0.01 percent.
The Marine Corps policy is primarily aimed at deterrence and education, but nothing precludes commanders from handing out punishments, Lt. Gen. R.E. Milstead Jr., deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, said in a Dec. 12 directive.
The Corps is the first among the Army, Air Force and Navy to begin random mandatory testing of all personnel, according to The Washington Times, (
http://bit.ly/XPvntb), which reported on the new policy last week. The Army leaves test decisions up to a commander and prohibits a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent or higher. The Air Force also instructs commanders to order alcohol tests when appropriate but has no compulsory program.
The Navy will introduce mandatory tests sometime in January, Lt. Caroline Hutcheson, a Navy spokeswoman, said Monday.
A study in September by the Institute of Medicine, sponsored by the Department of Defense, found that binge drinking, often called “sport drinking,” is increasing among military personnel in all branches, according to the Los Angeles Times (
In 1998, 35 percent of personnel admitted to binge drinking in the previous year. In 2008, the last year for which statistics were available, that figure had risen to 47percent. Twenty percent of personnel classified themselves as “heavy” drinkers.
Noting that “alcohol has long been part of military culture,” the study’s authors called for better leadership from the top of the chain of command in curbing excess drinking. Among the recommendations was “routine screening for excessive alcohol consumption.”
In fiscal 2011, the last year for which statistics are available, the Marine Corps reported 13 alcohol-related deaths among Marines in this country and abroad, the Times reported. Included were Marines killed by vehicle and motorcycle crashes, one from falling 17 stories from a building, one from attempting to run across a freeway near Camp Pendleton and several that occurred during binge drinking when the Marine passed out and could not be revived.
Under the Marine order, monthly reports about the results of the alcohol screening program will be kept by each Marine unit, and quarterly reports will be submitted to Marine Corps headquarters.
Information from: Los Angeles Times,
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever